Cheltenham Town 2-1 Ipswich Town: Blues' stuttering start continues as long throws cause chaos
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Ipswich Town’s stuttering start to their League One season continued as the Blues let a lead slip before going down 2-1 at the hands of Cheltenham Town.
The visitors, ahead early through Matt Penney’s goal, were in full control of this contest and should have been two up, only for Macauley Bonne to somehow miss with an open goal at his mercy, as the striker waited too long to finish after doing all the hard work to round the home keeper.
Sadly, it proved costly.
Town continued to dominate the game, with Kyle Edwards impressing on his full debut, but the Blues’ inability to score the second ultimately cost them as the hosts scored twice after the break, with Cheltenham’s famed long throws playing a part in both.
Callum Wright headed home the first, after Ben Tozer’s long throw was only half cleared and then the ball put back into the box before Will Boyle profited from pinball inside the Ipswich box, as Tozer again caused chaos.
The loss means Paul Cook’s men have taken just a point from their opening three League One games, heading into Saturday’s home clash with MK Dons.
Cook made three changes to his side, having already telegraphed his decision to give Cameron Burgess a first Town start, a little over 48 hours after his signing from Accrington Stanley.
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He came into the heart of defence, with Janoi Donacien switching to right-back as Kane Vincent-Young dropped out of the side, while Edwards came in for his first start following a hugely impressive cameo at Burton.
The final change saw Bonne start a league game for the first time, with Louie Barry and Armando Dobra the two dropping out to accommodate those two attacking players.
Cheltenham won last season’s League Two title, thanks to a blend of good throw and a dangerous long throw. And the latter was in evidence early here as Tozer flung the ball into the box, with Charlie Raglan flicking the ball on past a stranded Vaclav Hladky and Town then fortunate Wright was unable to turn the ball into an empty net as it flew past him at the far post.
Town had fallen behind in all three of their games this season but, having already come close to doing so again, they soon found themselves in front for the first time.
The source was unlikely, as Penney lashed home just his second career goal with the left-back firing through traffic, beating goalkeeper Owen Evans for power as the ball moved violently through the air on its way into the net.
It should have been two just a couple of minutes later, only for Bonne to produce an extraordinary miss as, collecting a clever Joe Pigott flick-on, the QPR loanee lifted the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper and had the simplest task to head into the empty net. He waited for the ball to drop, though, and fluffed his lines and allowed Evans time to scramble back and divert wide.
Bonne kept his head up, continuing to threaten the Cheltenham defence as he looked to link up with Pigott again, while Burgess had the back produced a succession of measured headed clearances as the Blues dealt with balls into the box.
Home defender Raglan headed wide from a corner, serving Town a warning, before Edwards stretched the home defence on a number of occasions as the two sides went in level at the break.
Lee Evans was the first to threaten for the Blues at the start of the second period, heading wide after breaking into the box, as Town played the start of the second period at their own pace and were caused little trouble by their hosts.
That was until the 62nd minute when, after a Tozer long throw was cleared well by Burgess, the ball came back into the box with interest and was superbly headed home at the back post by Wright.
Town were rattled as the home crowd got behind their side, with Burgess needing to dig out a succession of balls into the box and Hladky smartly stopping Wright’s driven effort, as the scores remained level heading into the final 20 minutes.
Cook replaced Pigott with Kayden Jackson for the final 15 minutes, but it was the hosts who had the next big moment as Tozer’s long throw causes chaos in the Ipswich box, before Boyle was able to turn home.
And, despite the introductions of Louie Barry and Tom Carroll late on, the hosts were able to hang on to take three big points.
Cheltenham Town: Evans; Boyle, Raglan, Tozer; Long, Sercombe, Wright (Chapman, 85), Thomas, Hussey; Vassell (May, 66), Williams (Lloyd, 66)
Subs: Flinders, Freestone, Blair, Perry
Ipswich Town: Hladky; Donacien, Woolfenden. Burgess, Penney; Harper (Carroll, 89), Evans; Fraser, Edwards; Bonne (Barry, 88), Pigott (Jackson, 79)
Subs: Holy, Vincent-Young, Coulson, Dobra